Steam Lamp

I recently was given an office at work. Super stoked to have an environment that I can call my own. It also allows me to bring in my own flavor of desk trinkets.

Well, with a window behind my back it makes seeing my computer a bit of a challenge. So I’ve been closing the blinds. My boss thought it was dark in my office then….

So. I built a new lamp.

lrm_export_20161103_215502I found some killer Edison style 40w bulbs at the antique mall for about 3.50 a piece new. Lovely spiral filament and amber glass. I went to the home improvement store and spent about 20 minutes “planning” the build.  From there, I went home with some T joints, a couple of nipples, and some keyless sockets. I mounted it all to some live edge walnut that I had laying around. and it became a bookend.

Here it is in place in my office



Really stoked out how well it came out, and how easy it was to put together.

Steampunk Wrist-Gauge

Whats the most important part of exploring? In any time? Boy Scouting taught me to be prepared. So when I’m out of the 33rd century I need to carry some tools to be ready to fix my gear.

I hadn’t consciously planned on using screws for everything but by this point, I thought it was a good idea to have a screwdriver.

I also needed a time distortion gauge. you know, to measure the amount of affect you’ve had on the past. Trust me, you don’t want to red-line that one!!!

The problem is that time travel can be hard on you, especially if you’re trying to carry a toolbox, so why not build it into your arm?

I started with a free hand pattern for an arm bracer. I used once again, some 5-6oz veg-tan leather, cut and dyed. I used Fiebang’s British Tan if anyone’s wondering… I bought a full pint of it for the apron project and used very little, but since have fallen in love with the color.

Well, anyway, with a few straps and snaps I got the thing attached to my arm.


I used a 1/2 inch strapping for a buckle connection at the forearm. I have a muscular arm and didn’t want it sliding off. I used snaps at the wrist for ease though.

Next up was the copper circuitry and application of my actual antique screw driver set. Its one that holds 3 smaller sizes inside itself. Super old school, super useful, absolutely beautiful.


Now I’m looking at this thinking, I need to be able to measure my time distortion!


The time gauge was then  constructed using a very inexpensive pressure gauge from harbor freight, a brass fitting kit too. I then put some of the fittings on my lathe and turned the openings up to 1/4inch to accept my copper tubing. I finished by attaching it again with a strap and some rivets. The screw driver also got a closure strap, but its got a snap so I can pull it out on the fly. and my connection wire came from some CAT6 cable. The twisted pairs are nice and colorful.

Steampunk Cane

Once again, a super cool steam project for Halloween 2016.

I needed a steam-weapon, something understated with a cool story. Steampunk is all about that story.

My character that I’ve been working is a 33rd century explorer who makes trips to the past. So, what does a gentleman do for a weapon? yep. a plasma cane.

First up was the plasma-core.


I went into the hardware store. This time, an independently owned ACE hardware that has always been really, really well stocked with odd parts. A few brass fittings acted as my vacuum tube base. My light source, which was a much cooler build that I stupidly didn’t photograph, was a flashlight from harbor freight. You know, the free ones that they basically give out every week. I ripped it apart and de-soldered the white LEDs from the board and put in my own 9-LEDs that were green. Instant plasma-power!

I then decided that I needed to show off the tube more. Its such a cool antique future part. I cut the shroud down and then built a cage for it out of some 1/4 inch brass rod.


The hard part was getting the brass rod bent at the same points 6 times over, then drilling and epoxying them into place. I used some T-66 structural epoxy and it is STRONG! very impressed with system3’s epoxy.

Now with the plasma generator built, it was time to fashion the rest of the cane. This was pretty quick. some more copper and a rubber furniture foot and boom the bottom is done.


The handle — That was the hard part. First it was lets solder all the pipe, then it was how do I get to the batteries for the light? So I decided that once again, screws would save the day.


The wiring, while extremely simple was a real bear to get fit into the pipe and working. I ended up not trying to use the body of the copper handle to conduct as I was losing too much power and I didn’t want to kill my batteries too fast. So I wired it up to a switch on an end-cap and it really came together.

Overall a super easy, super challenging project. Once again, lots of little problems to solve. Lots of fun to build. Lots of fun to build a story around too!

Steampunk Goggles

With Halloween closing in, I decided that this year was a steam-powered year!

Over about a week or so I think I went into the hardware store every day looking for parts.


First up – The eye cups!

I needed a rigid material to really work it all together, so I went brass. I found some brass end caps for 1 1/2″ water pipe. I gave it a shot and chucked them up to my lathe. They turned out to be a really hard brass alloy, I’m used to working with soft brass. But with a little time I was able to find my way through it and come up with a really cool threaded set as a base.

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The next step in the eye cups was the actual cup part.


This was some left over 5-6oz veg-tan that I had from my apron build that I cut and press fit in to test the shape. I was feeling pretty good at this point.


I then lined the leather with some black suede, stitched it together and dyed the veg-tan. I was really feeling good at this point!

Then I realized that there was no way to join the two eyes together. I scrounged around in my scrap stock and found some 1/16th hard brass plate and cut a nose bridge, shaped it on my anvil and riveted it with a few brass nails. — In hind sight, It should have been screwed together. as everything else was.


Once I had the eyes as one piece it was cake from there.

imag0504I attached the leather to the brass with some #4-40 screws, drilling and tapping as I was going. I did end up going through about 3 taps because #4 is just so delicate and I can be a bit of a brute when I’m excited. I screwed in from the inside and used some cap nuts to give a nice finished look.


The next step was the strap. The leather was very easy. 1/2 inch 5oz veg-tan with a suede liner. dead simple. Coming up with the attachment though — that was the challenge. I decided to use a plate again with screws. The plate is a 1/16th inch thick brass plated aluminum from kick plate on a door – not my favorite material, but it worked and polished nicely.

imag0507 Last step was to fit some Lexan circles into the eye cups for my lenses. I went with Lexan because its a lot stronger than acrylic and easier to work with in my opinion.

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Overall, I thought they turned out nice, and it was a fun series of problem solving!


ENG rig for the Gh4

I’ve recently been tasked to build an ENG rig for my Panasonic GH4 at work. So I went to work and found that two of the ENG lenses that I already had would be adaptable.

I picked up a 2/3″ B4 to mft mount and an lens power pack and its been pretty solid. It does increase the weight of the rig by about a ton. But after a full day of quick run-and-gun b-roll shooting that powered zoom is really handy!


Smithing Apron

As October rolled in I realized that I was spending a lot of time in my workshop and doing messier and messier projects. So I decided to build a nice apron that could be used for blacksmithing too.

I went out to a leather store in Indiana and got a beautiful double shoulder to start with.


The whole shoulder is a pretty consistent 5-6 oz. Its pretty heavy, but, still quite flexible.

I cut it to shape and lined the top.


Next was to come up with some nice tooling to really set it apart.


I started with some celtic dragons, I though, blacksmithing, fire, dragons. safe bet.

Then I went for a custom free hand design where I melded a celtic cross with Mjolnir.


Add some dye


Then add some strap reinforcements



Finally, Add some criss-cross straps and its good to go!



This was a fun project, probably the most in-depth leatherwork I’ve ever done too. Turned out well and I wear it now all the time in the workshop!